Urgent need for investment in preventive healthcare

26 June, 2018

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling for urgent investment in preventive healthcare as an effective solution to reduce the burden on Australia’s overcrowded emergency departments and public hospitals, following the release of the AIHW 2018 report.

Chair of RACGP Victoria Dr Cameron Loy said the findings in Australia’s Health 2018 show good outcomes on a range of acute and chronic health issues, including reductions in incidence of heart attacks and bowel cancer.

Australia’s Health 2018 once again shows the benefit of general practice and preventive healthcare,” Dr Loy said.

“Australia outperforms OECD member countries and far exceeds the OECD average on measures such as life expectancy, while spending around the OECD average on health care.

“While we’re doing well in some areas, it is clear that we need to address other areas, like the increasing proportion of people who are obese or overweight. Care should be provided early to keep people well, reducing the need for expensive hospital visits.

“However, the Australian Government is continuing to ignore preventive healthcare, and doing what they have always done – which is focusing on acute care only.

“As specialist GPs, we are able to work closely with patients throughout their lives to keep them healthy, rather than provide healthcare when it is desperately needed.

“Preventive healthcare is an important activity in general practice. It includes the prevention of illness, the early detection of specific disease, and the promotion and maintenance of health.

“Preventive care is critical in addressing the health disparities faced by disadvantaged and vulnerable population groups.

“It is clearly in the best interest of all Australians that our government urgently invest in this area.”

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